Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Name the Mascot contest

Frenchman Jan Blanchard has been in touch about Mitchelstown's International Wine and Food Festival: "The event is unusual; held on a live farm with exceptional wine makers from Hungary meeting local artisan food (venison, wildboar, iron age pigs, cheeses, apples and more)." 


3rd- 5th DECEMBER 2010

The International Wine and Artisan Food Festival takes place in Ballinwillin House, Mitchelstown this weekend (4-5 December 2010).  In its inaugural year, this event is bound to become a firm favorite with all members of the family. 

On hand to officially open the festival is TV and radio personality and renowned food and wine expert, Derek Davis.  Derek will welcome one and all on Friday, 3 December at 8pm and guests are invited to join in the celebrations at a banquet of fine food and wine on either Friday or Saturday evening.  Tickets for the either banquet can be purchased at www.hungrywines.com.

Santa's deer rest up
Inspired by the festive atmosphere of traditional European Christmas markets, picturesque wooden chalets located in a courtyard setting will offer a wide variety of locally produced food, handcrafted gifts and some unique Hungarian wines on Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-7pm.  Children will see Santa’s reindeer resting up before their hectic trip around the world on Christmas Eve, an indoor farm full of rare breed animals and Santa will be there to hear all their Christmas wishes. 

For the adults, a large number of artisan wine makers from Hungary are making a special trip to the International Wine and Artisan Food Festival.  So, come along and sample their carefully selected wines at organised tastings throughout the day.

Festival co-organiser, wine enthusiast and Frenchman, Jan Blanchard said:

“We hope that the festival will present an opportunity for people to try something new, discover new wines and enjoy local craft and artisan food. The festival, which is held on the first weekend of December, is a perfect outing to kick start the Christmas season”

To add to the fun, the Festival has its very own mascot who features on the website www.hungrywines.com and on posters and road signs in the area. Help us find a name for our Mascot and by sending your suggestions to us on www.hungrywines.com or on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hungry-Wines/177062268977949). The winner will be announced at the festival and will win a fabulous Christmas Hamper.
In the cellar

Entry fee to the festival will be €5.00 per adult and children are free. Parking is also free and your entry fee entitles you to a free glass of wine or mulled wine or a non alcoholic drink.   The event is being sponsored by Ballyhoura Development.

An it isn't just food and wine at Ballywillin - you'll be able to see some rare animals such as an Irish Grazer Pig and, believe it or not, an Irish Iron Age pig.....

Kerry Cattle

Kerry Cattle

Friday, November 26, 2010



Sculptures from the 19th and 20th century, including the c.1816 Canova copies of the Graeco-Roma period, from originals in the Vatican Museum, formed the backdrop as we “strolled” through a variety of European vineyards last evening, all thanks to From Vineyards Direct who held their winter tasting in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.

Fellow twitters in attendance were @  and @ (above)

Started off with a frothy Collalbrigio Prosecco NV, made especially for FVD by the Cipriani family, and there was an excellent finish to the evening with a sampling of Castelnau De Suduiraut Sauternes 2003, the 2nd wine of the region’s heavyweight, “a chateau that abuts the mighty D’Yquem”.

Quite a bit of tasting done in between on an evening when there was no admission charge but FVD had facilitated a fund-raising raffle by the Maymount Hospice, perhaps the one charity that no Cork person will refuse. Well done to VD for that.

Paul Kiernan (left) and Stuart Smith (FVD)
General Manager Stuart Smith was there for the evening. “We offer a small range of delicious drinking wines, principally from France, Italy and Spain, imported direct from the growers and delivered to your door at the click of a mouse. We aim to be at least 20% cheaper than through traditional channels.” 

First table had six of the “aromatic whites”. The supplied listing signalled that the 2009 Soave Classico ‘Pra’ was the hot one here but the two that topped my list were the Dom Bernard Fleuriet Sancerre 2008 and the Clothilde Davenne Sauvignon de St Bris 2009 from Burgundy.

Four class Burgundies on the next table and that proved the highlight for me. The line-up here included two Premier Cru: Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy, Dom La Motte 2006 and the Rully 1er Cru 'Le Gresigny’, Jean-Francois Protheau 2008.

The first of the reds to grab the attention, and appreciation, was Tagonius Tinto Roble, Vinhos de Madrid, made from Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot. Amazingly, the one that I really really liked was one of the cheapest. This was the Cotes du Rhone ‘Les Trois Souers’ Dom Les Grands Bois 2009. It also impressed Robert Parker who gave it 91 points and still the price is just €10.95.

By the time, we reached the Bordeaux table, the star, St Julien 2008, had vanished. Started with 2006 Claret and a Superieur from the same year. The next, a 2004 Superieur, came from Chateu Meaume, Reserve du Chateau, and had more to offer and was my best of the three.

In the absence of the St Julien, we were happy to finish off the reds with a silky 2006 St Emilion Grand Cru from Chateu Teyssier. Merlot is the main grape here and must admit I had more than just a “tasting” portion.
GOS checks out new hair style

FromVineyardsDirect is the brainchild of David Campbell and Esme Johnstone. To see more about the company, who offer free delivery, check here here


 A bumper Weekend Catch, fresh from the Net.

Restaurant Wine & Food Scene
via Twitter & Facebook
Control and click to follow the links and find out more.

Nash19Cork Nash19 
Call in and see our take away shop. Its now stocked for christmas. Claire's Cheats and Treats list out on Friday.... Its finally arrived at Nash 19. Christmas............ Mince Pies in the... http://fb.me/Bh7FHEgY

Electric Lunch from 12-5 and Pinchos every evening in the bar, restaurant open Weds to Sat and Brunch starting this Sunday!! Yum yum!!!

Robert Roberts coffee Diamonds from Tiffanys off the menu this year. Looking for a gift that will last longer than Wagner and that will mean more than an iron or socks...have a look at our coffeee connnoisseur club....

Liberty Grill Our new Brunch/Lunch specials for November now posted up on http://www.libertygrill.ie/facebook

Well ho ho holy God our Classic menu is such good value! Check out www.jacobsonthemall.com for more details on our Christmas Lunch and Evening menus. Get booking, it looks like December is gonna be a busy one! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 3:00pm Manning's Emporium

Nash19Cork Nash19 Ho Ho Ho. Open Saturday 27th November and all the following Saturday till Christmas. 8.30 am to 4.30pm Food Shop till 5pm

Bordbia Bord Bia Anyone in need of comforting, sometimes you just need a choc hug :) Our recipe for Choc pots with nutty biscuits :) http://bit.ly/cAObPC

Jacobs Onthemall Calling all office parties, we are serving Christmas Lunch 15/16/17/20/21/22/23/24th December 12.30PM-2.30PM
Check out jacobsonthemall.com for menu samples etc

Augustine's Restaurant Augustine's will be open for Christmas Lunch from 14 Decto 24 Dec inclusive. Book in for a lovely lunch after shopping in town and enjoy a really special time with your mum, your sisters, your family and friends or your business colleagues and partners.
From 12:30-2:30, and for just €27 for 5 divine courses, it'll be the best money ..

Nautilus restaurant Need some comfort on those cold windy nights? Why not visit us for a Savoyarde cheese fondue? the perfect winter food.

The Ambassador Restaurant Folks, the Christmas Lights are on in town and the shops have fantasic gifts galore! If you feel hungry after the browsing and the festive air.....why not call in for nice dinner to end the evening.......we open everyday including Sunday at 5.30pm.
Freeze now – thank yourself later! http://allrecipes.co.uk/

All the restaurants who participated in the Dine in Cork week would like to thank you all for your huge support & hope you enjoyed the week. Congrats to all the winners & we wish you a Very Merry Christmas & New Year.

Taking time out for a coffee and chat can do your mental health the world of good. Our Colombian Tres Rios Coffee supports the Aware Organisation.

What do you think of our website? If you’ve got 3 minutes to spare and you’d like to help us improve it, just click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/273DKYS

With December looming, it might be time to organise a Christmas gathering with your friends. Why not come to Nautilus for a delicious meal in a relaxed atmosphere?

Gift Cards now availlable for the perfect Christmas Present at The Brook Inn... and we're giving one away....just tell us 2 of the main courses on Christmas Party Night Menu (hint check out www.thebrookinn.ie Post your comment here and you will be entered in a draw where the winner will be picked at random. Closing date 6th Dec at 1pm.

Sherry is not a single wine, it embraces 4 variants at denomination of origin made from a base fluid prepared in the same way:  Fine Amontillado Oloroso (Odorous) ...

Control and click to follow the links and find out more.

We search the net, via Twitter and Facebook, each Thursday evening and early Friday morning, for the latest from the Cork restaurant and bar scene. If you don't have either of the above, reach us a tcork.billy@gmail.com. Deadline 9.00am Friday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

WINES FOR THE TURKEY (and the pudding!).

(Not forgetting the pudding)

Anxious about getting the correct wine match for your Christmas turkey? No need. Don’t worry too much about red or white. Most, unless they are sweet, will do the trick. Been reading up on the subject the last week or so and it looks as if the most popular red match is Pinot Noir while Pinot Grigio or Gris tops the white.

That was from the net but I also made contact with some real people, local wine people who have the wines in the shops or online for you, and their suggestions follow.

Classic Drinks are based in Little Island, just down the road from me, and Steve Dwyer has these hints: “For turkey – try Rioja – Zuazo Gaston Rioja (Alvesa) Joven €10.99 or Petalos – from Alvaro Palacios in Bierzo Spain €19.99. On the white side, try Spirit Hawk Chardonnay – from Rutherford in California €10.99 or Oveja Negra Chardonnay Viognier from Maule Valley in Chile €10.99.”

And he had a beauty for the pudding: “For desert – Sweet Agnes Ice Wine – from Seifried family in Nelson, NZ –375ml €19.99 spectacular with cheese (Decanter Trophy Winner 4th time in a row) or El Candido PX Sherry from Spain – 750ml €29.99 / 375ml €13.99.”

All these are available from independents including Pinecroft in Grange, Brian Barry, Midleton, O'Driscoll's, Ballinlough, Bramley Lodge, Fota – Ovjea Negra and Zuazo Garton Rioja are also available in Carryouts Nationwide.

Got in touch with Emily at Karwig Wines and their Red tips were New Zealand Bilancia Pinot Noir (18.76) and, from France, Chatelard Beaujolais Village (10.99). The Whites recommended were Italy’s Concilio Pinot Grigio Mas Gua (part of gift pack), Germany’s Erbeldinger Weisser Burgunder Spatlese Trocken (12.50) and South Africa’s Kaapzicht Chenin Blanc (9.60).
Karwig's Fizz 
For pudding: Australia’s Pfeiffer Rutherglen Muscat (17.51 a half bottle). Kariwg wines may be ordered online or at their place in Carrigaline. 

Curious Matt
Curious Wines were just after a hectic Fair on Saturday but Matt unhesitatingly came up with these tips: “Pinot Noir serves as a good foil for the turkey. The Ned Pinot Noir (15.99) would be my first choice and if you wanted to go high end, try the Greenhough Hope Pinot Noir. (32.00).  Chateauneuf du Pape is another popular choice as there are so many flavours on the Christmas dinner plate. Chante Cigale (28.00) is the real deal, not just another generic wine with 'Chateauneuf' on the bottle for the sake of it.

For the sticky, the PX Sherry (30.00 for 50cl) is fantastic. Very sweet, it went down really well on Saturday, as did Woodstock's 20 year old fortified which I have yet to put on the site.” Curious have an unmissable green base near Smyths Toys at the Kinsale Road roundabout and also operate online.

Gary Gubbins of Tipperary’s Red Nose Wine took some time out to make these recommendations. “I personally think Pinot Noir is a great one for turkey. French are the best but they are also expensive. New Zealand is a good alternative. Here are a couple of good ones.
 NZ Pinot  (16.00)  and French Pinot  (54.00) - if you want to spoil yourself then this is simply superb.- 

“For white, try something like Pinot Gris or Chardonnay. For something different, try Domaine des Anges “Archange” white  (20.00).

 Red Nose operate out of the Clonmel Business Park and also online.
Wine Alliance  have Christmas well covered, according to Maurice O’Mahony. “Either the white or the red in the Mas de Vigneron will prove a good choice. Or why not try one of the Shirazes from the Kangarilla Road winery: either the Kangarilla Road Leaf Series Shiraz (15.99) or the 2Up (11.99).”
“Many people prefer white and I would recommend the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (15.99) by Wines by Brad. If you have a few occasional wine drinkers in the group than why not try the Pinot Grigio (9.49) by Adria. This is fairly neutral, matches well and is keenly priced.”
“Turkey is often served cold later in the holiday and here you couldn't do better than pull out one or both of the Rojo Mojos, one Shiraz, the other Tempranillo, each 8.99. Both are light, soft and fruity and will go brilliantly with the cold meat!” 
Wine Alliance Stockists include 1601 Off Licence, Kinsale Cork; Bradleys Off Licence, North Main Street Cork; JJ O’Driscoll’s, Ballinlough, Cork; Barrys, Midleton, Cork; The Beer Garden, Turners Cross, Cork; Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway; Mortons of Galway, Salthill, Galway; World Wide Wines, Dunmore Road, Waterford; On The Grapevine, Dalkey, Dublin; Hollands of Bray, Bray, Wicklow; Der O’Sullivan, The Mall, Tralee, Co. Kerry; French Flair, Tralee, Co. Kerry; Partridges, Gorey, Wexford; Red Nose Wines, Clonmel, Co Tipperary; Foleys Wine Cellar, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

What will I be drinking on Christmas Day? Not sure yet but probably a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from the Bergerac AOC , Montravel, and I’m inclined to try the Brown Brothers Tarrango from Australia or perhaps a Beaujolais Nouveau or Villages. I have no Monbazillac left for the pud so I be buying from the list above.

There could be an argument about what to drink with the cold meat. One of us is strong on the Rojo Mojo Shiraz while the other favours the Tempranillo. Better get both, I suppose!

Hope the suggestions above help you this Christmas and, wine or no wine, I hope you and yours enjoy the festive break. And the best of cheer too to the wine professionals who helped with this post. I know it is a busy time for you and I appreciate the efforts.


A guest post by Blake Creedon........

Blake’s Favourite Fifty Australians

My blog and my column in the Irish Examiner can never provide what they set out to inspire — namely, the pleasure of a glass of fine wine in good company.
So I was delighted to accept an opportunity offered to me by John McDonnell of Wine Australia Ireland earlier this summer.  They’ve given me free rein to pick a few dozen of my favourite wines from Australia, regardless of price, styles or retailer. In return, they’d provide the wine and the venue for a one-off wine-tasting evening, namely…

The list I’ve put together is a mouth-watering range of reds, whites, rosés, sparkling and dessert wines.  And, for once, instead of talking at you about how good a particular wine is, we’re  going to be bringing you the wine live and in 3-D.

Wednesday, December 1, from 6pm to 8.30pm
at Cork School of Music, Union Quay. 

Tickets are €20.
Booking (via Wine Australia Ireland on 065 7077264) is advisable.

Cork School of Music
The beautiful Cork School of Music - an inspirational venue.
For the price of a round of drinks, it promises to be a fun evening of tasting (and drinking) fifty top-class wines. We’ll be opening every one of them and serving them on the night along with some tasty bites of grub.
The practical side of the evening is represented by the brochure that everyone attending will get. This details each wine, its recommended retail price, and a  list of stockists — making it a handy shopping list if you’re inspired by any of the wines you encounter at the event.
One unusual aspect of the tasting is that the wines are drawn from right across the trade. We’ve been working with 19 Irish wine importers from well-established names (such as Findlater’s, and Barry & Fitzwilliam) to bright young firms like Classic Drinks who are also based in Cork.
All the wines are available to buy in Ireland, and the list of stockists spans a wide range of retailers from online wine stores and wine specialists such as Bubble Brothers, Curious Wines and O’Donovans, through to supermarkets and independent off-licences.
Another pretty cool aspect of the whole thing is the venue, the award-winning Cork School Of Music on Union Quay, designed by Murray O’Laoire architects and opened in 2007. 
This modern, elegant building is a great setting for any event, and I’m delighted we’re holding the tasting there. And there’s more. The School of Music  wouldn’t have been built without a long campaign waged by parents,  students and teachers and their trade unions. In uncertain times, it’s good to remember that with such spirit and effort,  ordinary people can create something so positive for our city. ♦

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



A few months back, Adam Baker of Roma supplied quite a lot of food bloggers with Roma Pizza and Pasta Flour.

Unfortunately it got side-lined here until relatively recently. But we were delighted when we tackled it. Not just us. There are a few pizza eating twenty somethings around the house and they instantly spotted the difference. This homemade one (mozzarella and salami) was so much tastier.

Fairly easy to do and the results are excellent. Definitely worth a try. The flour is widely available as are a whole range of Roma products.

Whether you take up the pizza (or pasta) making challenge or not, be sure and take a look at the Roma Website at http://www.roma.ie Two cooks are featured here: Catherine Fulvio (well known to most of you) and Gianluca Pardini.

There are loads of recipes. Pasta and Pizza feature of course but there is so much more. The first one I saw was Fillet of Haddock with Patatas Bravas. There is a huge choice and quite a few videos, mainly featuring Catherine, including one where she does one of my favourites: Chicken Cacciatore

Monday, November 22, 2010


Kangarilla Road is the main road running past the vineyard towards the small village of Kangarilla; the name, a derivation of the local Aboriginal language, refers to the abundance of resources locally. And the O’Brien owned Kangarilla Road Winery is using those resources well and sending out some marvellous wines.
One of the partners is strong in PR and so there is bound to be, and there is, a bit of spin about the winery products but much more importantly there is a whole lot of quality emerging from the McLaren Vale enterprise. Enjoyed a couple recently, both imported here by Wine Alliance of Galway.
The 2008 Shiraz has an ABV of 14.5% and costs €15.99. It is a deep red colour with aromas of black (mainly plum) fruit. It is fruity on the palate, dark cherries to the fore. Spice is present, but pleasantly restrained, and the tannins are soft; it is well balanced with a smooth lingering finish. A serious player.
Apparently, there is a cheeky chappie called Charlie on the Kangarilla property. They say the Shiraz (75%) and Cab Sauv (25%) blend is named for him. Aside from blending the different grapes varieties, there are some four growing regions, all with different characteristics, involved.
Still, it is the result of the mixes that counts and here Kangarilla (and Wine Alliance of course) are on to yet another winner and at a very decent price. ABV is 14%. It has a fruity nose and the colour is crimson. In the mouth, this well-balanced wine – the tannins play their expected part - is smooth and fruity with hints of oak and lovely non-spiky spices. Nice one Charlie!
Kangarilla Road Shiraz 2008, 14.5%, €15.99, McLaren Vale (Aus.), PR: 90
Kangarilla Road Charlies Blend Shiraz Cabernet 2008, 14%, €11.99, McLaren Vale (Aus.),  PR: 85